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#1650 - Thursday, December 18, 2003 - Editor: Jerry
The Other Syntax
Buddha and Jesus
"There are other
similarities in the lives of these two great
beings...Both Buddha and Christ were precocious youths who confounded
their teachers with their gifted knowledge. Both began their spiritual
quest at about the age of thirty. Both fasted and prayed in the
wilderness and both were tempted by the devil while practicing these
austerities. The setting of these two accounts is almost identical as
are the events. Both men were fasting when tempted by the devil who
tried to entice them into worldly pleasures and trick them into using
the magical powers that they possessed. Both men overcame the
temptation and soon left their seclusion and took up the mission of a
life of teaching and traveling.
Jesus's life at this
time seems very much like the age-old life of an
Indian mystic or holy man. He traveled from village to village and lived
off the hospitality of the people of the village. There are some
differences, but, nonetheless, both Buddha and Christ got into trouble
with the ruling aristocracies by their deliberate blindness to social
status and by taking food and refuge from courtesans and prostitutes.
Both masters told their
disciples to leave behind their homes and
families and to follow him. Both sent his followers out to preach
their message. Both were social revolutionaries who reacted against the
conservative elements of their time. Both put an end to animal
sacrifice which was popular in both Hinduism and Judaism. As you can
see there are great similarities in the lives of these two great beings.
Both forgave evil doers, both conquered death in a metaphysical sense.
The earth shook when each of them died. Their messages are also
similar: they told their followers to overcome anger, to practice
non-violence, to 'turn the other cheek,' to be pure of mind and body."
From a post on the list-group, [email protected].
typed this from the book:The Divine Life volume I, page 85 - 89. I bought the book at Anandashram and I typed this by way of Ram Nam.
'Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram'
Bhakti means making God the supreme ideal of life. For the
bhakta there is no
other thought but of Him, and no other ambition but to attain Him. His mind runs
towards God through a ceaseless flow of remembrance. The bhakta's heart is ever
agitated with the waves of hope and aspiration for the vision of God. His
restless nature, besides urging him to constantly in the thought of God, directs
his steps to the feet of saints and drives him form place to place to visit to
noted shrines. As the child away from it's mother is stricken with anguish and
sorrow for the sight of her, so the bhakta insistently weeps with the longing for
the darshan of God. He finds life dry and tasteless until he meets his supreme
Beloved. The more he meditates and contemplates upon the great attributes of God,
the more he begins to feel his own littleness and unworthiness, and prays to his
Beloved to elevate, enlighten and purify him, so as to make him fit to be
accepted as His child and servant.
For the bhakta, God is the very embodiment of love, compassion, forgiveness and
grace. He visualises his God in the recesses of his own heart. He surrenders
completely in thought, word and deed to his Beloved, and adores Him with an
unflinching devotion. By a constant meditation of the Lord, the bhakta imbibes
into his own being the Divine attributes, ultimately reaching a status of perfect
union and oneness with Him. Compassion, mercy and love now illuminate the nature
and therefore all actions of the bhakta. He becomes the very image of God, for
the impurities and weaknesses having been removed by the grace of the Lord, he
stands revealed as the very sun of Truth, radiating all around him the rays of
love, kindness and peace.
Now the greatest virtue that shines forth in all its splendour in the bhakta is
forgiveness. As God has forgiven Him, so he forgives all in the world who wrong
or have wronged him. He ever returns good for evil both in thought and action. He
is self-sacrificing to a degree. He is ever willing to serve and toil for others,
to give them solace and relief. He loves all with an equal vision, be he friend
or foe, rich or poor, good or wicked, high or low, wise or ignorant. He endures
peacefully ignominy and persecution and gives himself away in any away fro the
good of others. He is ever contented, ever pure and cheerful. He is unassuming
and humble in all he does. He recognises God as all in all. He experiences God
seated in heart as casing, by His power, all movements in the world. He beholds
and feels God's presence everywhere. Verily, he always lives and moves in God and
is the very being of God.
Acme of Bhakti
Bhakti is the adoration of the supreme Lord of the universe beyond everything
else in the world. This one-pointed adoration makes the devotee keep his mind
ever engaged in the remembrance and contemplation of the Lord. The Divine idea
seizes the mind of the devotee to such an extent that the most attractive objects
of life cease to interest him. He talks, laughs and often weeps in his madness
for the Lord. As he progresses on the path of devotion he is weaned away from the
petty and transient pleasures of the senses and remains, as it were, dead to
them. His one passion is to see God, know God and be entirely merged in God.
So as a result of this devotion, in the first place the devotee is possessed with
an intense Vairagya, i.e. a steady and fixed dispassion towards the evanescent
objects in the world. The intensity of Viaragya depends upon the intensity of his
devotion to his Lord. A devotion which is weak and interrupted cannot entirely
turn the mind away from the external world. Very often, a devotee complains that,
however strong he may wish, he cannot fix his thoughts in the continuous
remembrance of the Lord, and that his mind is wandering towards the objects of
the senses. This is due to a lack of intensity of devotion to his Lord. Devotion
must, therefore, be a dedication of all the powers of the mind and of the heart
for the exclusive meditation and love of the Lord.
Devotion as rightly divided is of two kinds - the lower and the higher. In the
lower form of devotion, the devotee looks for guidance and concentration from
outside, and primarily attaches himself to the society of saints who have
realised fully the greatness and glory of the Lord. To keep himself pure in
thought, word and deed, he controls all the forces that are working in his
physical and psychical being, and adjusts the conduct of his life so as to free
himself from all desires of his mind. Mainly he will have recourse to three kinds
of Sadhana, viz. Satsang, solitude and Sattwic diet. How does the devotee now try
to tune his mind in a continuous symphony with the Lord? It must be admitted that
every remembrance signifies bringing into mind the name and qualities of the
person or object remembered. A prolonged remembrance means a sustained fixity of
the thought on the name and attributes of the person or object. For the devotee,
the Lord becomes the one great object of ceaseless remembrance, which is attained
by an unbroken repetition of His sweet and all-powerful Name and brining at the
same time into the mind His sublime glories and attributes.
As the devotee advances in his spiritual path, he transcend the Tamo and Rajo
Gunas of nature and gets firmly seated in Sattwa guna. Sattwa Guna denotes a
consciousness above the animality of human nature, filled with calmness,
equality, light and purity. It must be understood that this Sattwic consciousness
is a step to a still higher consciousness. The lower from of Bhakti leads the
devotee to this most necessary step.
Now commences the higher step of devotion. Sattwa Guna entitles the devotee to
the Grace of Lord or a saint, and through this grace he is lifted beyond all
Gunas and comes, so to say, face to face with the immortal and all-blissful Atman
whom he realises as his real being and existence. This is called Jnana or Moksha.
The knowledge of the Atman liberates the bound soul from the vicious cycle of
births and deaths, and grants him unchanging and eternal bliss and peace. It is
then the higher Bhakti which is termed Parabhakti dawns on him.
This is the summit of God-realisation. With Jnana as the background, the devotee
beholds the entire manifested universe as the supreme image of his beloved Lord.
All creatures, beings and thing in the universe are looked upon by him as the
very forms of his Lord. He feels and sees the Lord's presence everywhere. His
sense of duality has completely vanished. Oneness of life, oneness of all
existence becomes now the keynote of his vision. Not only in the inner
realisation of the Atman that the sense of diversity has disappeared but also in
the external revelations of the natural phenomena. In this supreme state the
devotee enjoys unending and inexpressible bliss. There is no limit to his
ecstasies born of his consciousness of unity and oneness with the Lord. He
veritably rolls, swims and gambols in the infinite ocean of joy. Blessed, a
million times blessed, is the devotee who reaches this highest peak of
And pass away.
This is their nature.
When you know this,
Nothing perturbs you,
Nothing hurts you.
You become still.
It is easy.
Fortune or misfortune
May befall you.
When you know this,
You desire nothing,
You grieve for nothing.
Subduing the senses,
You are happy.
Brings joy or sorrow,
Life or death.
When you know this,
You may act freely,
For what is there to accomplish?
All sorrow comes from
From nothing else.
When you know this,
You become free of it,
And Desire melts away.
You become happy
The world with all its
When you know this,
Desire melts away.
When you know in your heart
That there is nothing,
You are still."
From the web site, "Heart of Awareness,"
At a tweet retreat
hi nondual birds!
surfing parties on the beach
always in for fun
feasts at night rest in the sun
look - the ocean is a drop
one that's within reach!
--Jan Barendrecht NDS
Moving Messages Media
This is my favorite movie time of the year because the studios "backload" all their adult-oriented films into the last 60 days of the year to qualify for Academy Awards. As a voting member of the Academy, I get DVD/VHS copies of films to watch at home--and almost 30 of them have arrived just in the last 10 days. As all 4 of my daughters have made me a very happy dad indeed by being home for Christmas, we`re having a movie marathon over the next couple of weeks. As is my custom, I`m only going to send out Movie Alerts on films that I really enjoy and can heartily recommend..starting today with:
Haven`t heard of it yet? You will. It`s the latest film from the brilliantly creative mind of director Tim Burton who has become known for brilliant but dark films such as the original BATMAN and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS.....in BIG FISH, however, Burton`s visual storytelling genius is directed at the lyrical, bizarre, charming, baffling, and ultimately life-affirming story of a great verbal storyteller.
Albert Finney plays the older version (with Ewan McGregor his younger self) of a traveling salesman of sorts named Edward Bloom who regales his wife, his son, and all who listen to him with wild tales of his life on the road. As a child, his son is enthralled with his Dad`s amazing adventures but, as he grows up, he becomes convinced that his old man is "full of the blarney" and they become estranged until his father is dying. At that point, he asks his Dad to tell him the "truth" of his life and most of the film reflects that tale--which is, in many ways, wilder than the old stories!
To go any farther with the plot here would be foolish and counterproductive because the film itself plays out in a nonlinear fashion that seems, as it goes along, to be more of a fable of our very existence in life as anything else. Metaphors and tantalizing moments about our own humanity are much more important here than a standard plot. For instance, one of the experiences that our main character encounters as a child revolves around a "witch" with a glass eye, in whose reflection one is "allowed" to see into the future to the moment of one`s death. Most people are terrified but young Edward calmly asks to see his fate, after which he serenely exclaims" OH, that`s how I go". He explains his calm response by telling us that he now knows that he will survive everything else that happens to him before that moment of death so he can through life in a much calmer and more confident manner. Which brings up a great audience question: if you could know the moment of your own death!, would you want to know?
BIG FISH is a movie about perception...how we perceive ourselves and the reality which we create every day...it is a movie about "telling a story enough times that we become the story," which is again a fascinating metaphor for creating the reality of our own lives. The title refers both to being a big fish in a little pond and also to the great "apocryphal" stories about catching--in this case actually BECOMING-- the big fish "that got away." If that sounds a bit paradoxical, it is indeed meant to be so because BIG FISH is a strange and unique movie with a rhythm all its own and, as such, it is certainly not a mass-market film that everyone will enjoy. I watched the film with 2 of my daughters--my 23 year old loved it and my 28 year walked away halfway through. It`s that kind of film--I sense that people will either love it or loathe it and, for me, that`s what separates great art in film from the run-of-the-mill fare we usually get from the studios. If you are interested i!
n immersing yourself in the gentle, loving, fascinating and elliptical world of a genius filmmaker, I believe you may walk away enchanted and enthralled. I did.
The Other Syntax
There is a good attitude to take towards any
goal: It's nice if it
happens, nice if it doesn't.
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